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The northern shore of Makadi Bay, in Hurghada, features an extensive coral reef offering great snorkeling. By exploring the “mini reefs” facing Fort Arabesque Beach or by drift-snorkeling the northern drop-off, you will come across a myriad of colorful fish and invertebrates, in a shimmering underwater landscape.

Encounter with a Sohal surgeonfish at Makadi Jetty (itinerary 2 on the map).
Encounter with a Sohal surgeonfish at Makadi Jetty (itinerary 2 on the map).

How to get to Makadi Bay North snorkeling spot?

This spot covers the 1-mile-long coral reef fringing the northern shore of Makadi Bay. It includes the house reef of the Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas, one of the large resorts bordering Makadi Bay. Makadi Bay is located about 40km south of the city of Hurghada and 30km south of the airport.

To access this spot, the easiest way is to stay at one of the resorts bordering the bay, in particular the Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas, as it has the best house reef with beach access. You can also access the reef from the jetty at the northern limit of the resort area (see Makadi Móló on the map below).

North Makadi Bay snorkeling map
North Makadi Bay snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Makadi Bay North reef

The water entrance is:

  1. From the Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas beach, if you want to explore the snorkeling area 1 on the map above. The entry points are marked by buoys, indicating the gaps in the reef flat which allow snorkelers to reach the outer reef without damaging the coral. Beach staff is strict about enforcing the use of those entry points rather than trying to pick one’s way across the flat.
  2. From the jetty called Makadi Móló, at the northern limit of the resort area, if you want to snorkel the itinerary 2 on the map. Opening hours 10 am to 4 pm.

Makadi Bay North reef snorkeling exploration tips

There are two main snorkeling areas at Makadi Bay North.

1. The Fort Arabesque House Reef (snorkeling area 1 on the map).

Starting from the shore, you will first cross the shallow reef flat that fringes the beach. Over forty meters, the bottoms are not spectacular, but you can see many small fish at very shallow depths (↕1-3ft/0.5-1m).

Bluecheek butterflyfish at Makadi Bay
A bluecheek butterflyfish at Makadi Bay – Fort Arabesque house reef (snorkeling area 1).

You then come to a deeper area, which is the best snorkeling location. Here, dozens of “mini reefs” are scattered on the sandy bottom. Reef tops are in two feet (50cm) or so of water, each ‘mini-reef’ dropping off to between 6-20 feet (2-7m).

The best-preserved reefs are covered with magnificent corals in pink, yellow or bluish tones. Close in, the coral is inevitably affected by the to and fro of people, but a little further out it is in remarkably good health – a testament to the efforts of the hotel to educate people on how to respect the reefs.

Regal angelfish at Makadi Bay
A couple of regal angelfish at Fort Arabesque’s reef (snorkeling area 1).

Reefs are like an I-spy book of Red Sea fishes – with a large variety and fairly used to snorkelers. The butterflies are in particular very inquisitive. Amongst the most common fish species at reef are the sulphur damselfish, the regal angelfish, the bluecheek butterflyfish, the Red Sea bannerfish, and parrotfish of several species.

By exploring the “mini reefs”, you may also have the chance to surprise a moray eel, an octopus, a lionfish, or a ray. In total, more than a hundred more or less common reef fish species live in Fort Arabesque.

2. Drift snorkeling along the northern fringing reef (snorkel itinerary 2 on the map)

Advanced snorkelers can consider entering the water from Makadi jetty and drift snorkel all the way to Fort Arabesque beach (1 mile/1.6 kilometer itinerary).

The reef drop off at Makadi Bay.
The reef drop-off at Makadi Bay (snorkel itinerary 2).

Here the reef is larger but the reef flat can’t be snorkeled as it is too shallow. Following the drop-off to your right, you will observe an incredible diversity of sea life.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

This spot is the house reef of the Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas, which offers different types of accommodation and several restaurants and bars.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth20ft/7m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach or a jetty
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.